After a year of travel, we almost forgot what it was like to settle down. So when we made the decision to stay put for six months as we worked on our creative projects and business (and you so kindly gave us our destination as Chiang Mai, Thailand), we weren’t quite sure what to do next.
Stay tuned to find out what we did as well as how you can win a $100 credit from Roomorama for your next travel adventure.
How do you “settle down” after a year of travel?
- Figure out how you can stay in your chosen country
- Learn the language
- Get temporary lodging first and then book something more permanent after you arrive
Research visa options:
If you rely on a typical tourist visa when you arrive you might not get the time period you want (or even be allowed to enter some countries). Do your research first. If you do need to go to an embassy to get a visa before you arrive, bring everything requested as well as a pen, and try to learn a few words of their language before you go. While they will almost always speak English, it is polite to address them in their language and thank them that way, too. Being polite and considerate of their culture will go a long way in making this a pleasant experience.
We researched our visa options online and applied for our double-entry visas at the Thai embassy in Brussels, Belgium, where we were housesitting. By getting a double-entry visa and using the 30-day extensions available with each entry, we can stay in Thailand for six months with only one “visa run” to a neighboring country.
Learn the language:
If you’re going to live somewhere for a while, it pays to be able to communicate. Sure, a touristy area will likely have a lot of English speakers, but can you really learn a lot about a culture if you don’t learn a bit of their language? We love being able to greet, thank, and ask basic questions to our new Thai friends and hope to deepen the conversations during our time here. We could easily just make friends with other English speakers – there are plenty of them here – but that’s not really the point of long-term travel, is it?
We began learning Thai before we arrived through Mango Languages. When you plan to stay in a country for an extended period of time, you have to be able to get around. Even when the locals often know English, as is the case in Chiang Mai, you can go much farther by knowing the language. The whole experience is just more pleasant. We both want to learn more lanugages during this trip and diving and staying somewhere for an extended period is the absolute best approach. In addition, there is new research that links learning languages to staving off Alzheimer’s which sounds like a great side benefit.
Find temporary lodging:
Booking your permanent accommodations for a long-term stay can be disastrous. We found this out during our stay in Lima, Peru when we prepaid for 3 weeks in the loudest apartment on the face of the earth – and one with a bathroom mildew problem to boot. When you’re dealing with a private owner who lives in another country, you have very few options for getting your problems resolved or getting a refund if you just can’t take it anymore. Not only that, it was hidden away in a residential neighborhood that even the taxi driver from the bus station couldn’t find!
This is why we are so glad to have found Roomorama. Roomorama manages short- and long-term stays at privately-owned properties all over the world. You get the coziness of staying in a private residence combined with the service of staying in a nice hotel. This is certainly the way to travel whether you are looking to go somewhere for a week’s vacation, or plan to hop between locations and need a few nights in each place. We love it because you get all the luxuries of your own place, can cook for yourself, and are staying in a residential neighborhood which gives you a chance to see how people live in the city.
Roomorama offered us a stay for 5 nights at a full-service condo building. After arriving in Chiang Mai, we got a taxi who immediately knew of the condo tower and took us directly there with no confusion. We were met by a full-time staff who answered our questions about the condo, the area, and how to best get around. We enjoyed a condo with a kitchen (not so common in Chiang Mai rentals), a great view, and daily breakfast at the downstairs restaurant included. We knew we needed to get our bearings before we made any permanent decisions, and staying at Galare Thong Tower through Roomorama was the best way to do that.
We spent those first few days getting ready for the launch of our first book (available now) as well as exploring the city a bit to decide where we wanted to settle for our time here. We had a peaceful and relaxing start to our stay here thanks to our short stay with Roomorama and now highly recommend them to others who are seeking a vacation rental or need a place to stay for a few nights before settling down somewhere.
Are we really settled?
We’re getting into a flow & routine with a nice balance of work and play. In addition we’ve enjoyed having our friends from England visiting us last week (our fourth continent of travel together – how cool is that?). We have met a few of the local expats and long-term travelers, and we’re getting to know our local vendors and restaurant owners. Warren is practicing his Thai every day (?????????????????????????), and we’re both diving into the creative and the moneymaking projects we want to help fund our continued travels. We like Chiang Mai more and more each day – the landscape, the climate, and gentle and fun-loving nature of the people. I think we are settled…for now.
I like the way we settled here, and I can see us using the same strategy again on our next long-term stay. It is going to fun learning about the Thai culture in more depth while we create some exciting new products.
Your chance to win a $100 gift card for your next stay with Roomorama
Roomorama has kindly offered to give one of you, our readers, a $100 gift certificate to try out their wonderful service. They manage properties all over the world, so finding a location will be as simple as narrowing down where in the world you would like to see.
To be entered to win, follow these easy steps:
- Tell us in the comments below where you’d spend your gift certificate.
- Facebook – Like Roomorama and Married with Luggage
We’ll use Random.org to pick the winner. Good luck! We look forward to hearing about your travel locations and to following up about your experience.
UPDATE: contest is now closed. We have selected our winner.